Why Ignoring a Lowball Offer is a Bad Idea

We all know that sellers hate it when a buyer submits what is perceived as a lowball offer and it may very well be just that. I say “perceived” because the house could be overpriced. Emotions can run high, and fury may set in as the seller rants to their agent and their agent may join in by fueling the fire rather than trying to temper the situation. The result:  The seller ignores the buyer by not responding at all. It’s what adults do when someone insults us, right? We ignore them. The answer is sometimes, but this isn’t one of them. There is just too much at stake.Never Ignore or Be Insulted by a Buyer’s OfferI am not a proponent of not responding to an offer at all no matter how low it is. I get that the seller may be insulted, but by totally ignoring a buyer’s offer, it may shut the door in the face of a bona fide buyer. We’re all experienced enough to know that buyers will test the waters and we should relay that to our sellers. At the very least, the seller can respond with “offer rejected.”  That way it leaves the door open for the buyer to come back and make a better offer. But by slamming the door on a buyer’s offer, it lets the buyer and his agent know a few things:

  1. One or both (seller and agent) don’t treat people very well. I’m not suggesting that they become besties with the buyer but we’re all adults and should treat each other as such. You know the old “catch more bees with honey” adage.
  2. It’s an indicator of how the buyer’s side might be frequently ignored during the course of a transaction. Even if ignoring is not intentional, it’s a sign that effective communication is not a priority. You know how some seller’s agents don’t respond as promptly or at all after a contract has been accepted.
  3. It creates a sense of hostility at the onset.

If a seller simply does not respond to or acknowledge an offer in any way, it may eliminate a path for a buyer to come back with some sense of dignity with a revised offer. On the flip side, after the property continues to linger on the market, the seller may have closed the door to an opportunity to revisit the buyer whose offer they ignored. Neither the buyer or seller wants to feel like they have to grovel and come begging. 

Buying and Selling Real Estate is Not War

Being on opposite sides of a real estate transaction does not mean that the parties have to be hostile to each other. It’s a learned behavior by watching and even being taught by others. I’ve been at meetings where brokers actually recommend that we advise the seller to ignore buyers by not responding at all. Rude habits come from the top down, right? It’s a bad habit that needs to stop. Nobody, or should I say, not everyone wants to be on the defensive from contract to close. No one involved is the enemy, at least that’s what I hope. The buyer and seller are parties in a transaction and both agents are there to help them navigate the transaction so that their clients have a pleasant experience and not one filled with angst from contract to close.It’s bad enough that the general public don’t think very highly of us. It would seem that agents would do a better job of treating their peers more courteously. That does not suggest in any way that our loyalty lies with one another rather than with our clients. It simply means treat others how you want to be treated, especially if no one gives cause to treat them otherwise.

People can stand to be a little nicer, don’t you think?